Health service distributing antibiotic, student’s condition improving

Approximately 150 Wake Forest University students have taken a preventive antibiotic in response to a fellow student being diagnosed this week with bacterial meningitis, an infection of the fluid of a person’s spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain.

The student, junior Ann Marie Collins from Glastonbury, Conn., was listed in satisfactory condition Wednesday at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Collins was diagnosed with the contagious illness Monday at the hospital. Initially treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Collins is now in a regular patient room.

Immediately after Collins’ diagnosis, the university notified students, faculty and staff by e-mail of her illness. The message encouraged those who had close contact with Collins in the last week to 10 days to visit the Student Health Service to receive an antibiotic as a precaution. Distributed at no cost, the antibiotic is a single tablet of Ciprofloxacin, also known as Cipro.

“At this point, we have given the antibiotic to nearly everyone on campus who might need to take it,” said Dr. Cecil Price, director of the Student Health Service, on Wednesday. “We will continue distributing the antibiotic as long as necessary to those who have had close contact recently with Ms. Collins.”

The Student Health Service recommends the antibiotic for Collins’ hallmates; anyone who shared eating utensils or drinking glasses/cups with her in the past seven to 10 days; and anyone who has spent more than four hours with her in a close space (such as a residence hall room) in the past seven to 10 days. Collins, who lives in Efird Hall, does not have a roommate.

Many students who have taken the antibiotic attended an out-of-town Sigma Phi Epsilon formal that was also attended by Collins. Others have included friends and hallmates.

Price said the Student Health Service is probably providing the drug to more people than necessary, but he said the staff prefers to be “liberal in our distribution.”

Since the Student Health Service learned of the student’s illness, it has worked closely with Forsyth County Health Department. The department is responsible for investigating whether any people off campus may require an antibiotic after having close contact with Collins.

Those on campus with additional questions about the matter are encouraged to call the Student Health Service at 758-5218. People may also call the Forsyth County Health Department at 727-8231.

Categories: Media Advisory, University Announcement